In this cheer for books and reading, a boy wants a pet—but one that’s easy, lacks fleas and won’t run away.
His accommodating parents suggest a book, and together, they trek to the Loyal Neighborhood Bookopolis, where a “frisky red hardcover” captivates. Leash-trained, this unique pet “never needed bathing. / And its ears would never droop. / But best of all that little pet… / It didn’t even poop!” Everything’s swell, until the day the boy returns from school to find that the maid has mistakenly given his pet to charity. The pair race to the thrift store to search for the beloved tome, finding it hiding in a doghouse in the store’s pet section. Staake’s quatrains scan well, though at times they approach—well, doggerel. The wacky premise is elevated to towering heights via the over-the-top digital illustrations, wherein round-headed people, multihued from persimmon to turquoise, cavort with dogs and cats of every description and temperament. Perspective in interior rooms is dizzying, while cityscapes are a gaudy geometry of tightly packed buildings, bridges, parks and populace. Obligingly, Staake finds room to portray this unusual pet’s power to transport its owner through its “tales / Of awesomeness and glory.”
One of Staake’s sillier, more ebullient outings—and that’s saying something. (Picture book. 4-8)